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									                            Social Studies Grade 7 Curriculum Guide
                                         Unit 3 Overview

Unit Title: The Culture and Kingdoms of West Africa

Unit Time Frame: 4 weeks

Unit Priority Standards

7.01 Explain how cultures change to accommodate different ideas and beliefs.
7.02 Understand the fundamental tenets and practices of the belief systems of West Africa and the
relationship of beliefs, values, and culture.
7.03 Analyze a variety of historical sources and engage in historical analysis and interpretation.
7.04 Understand the major characteristics, developments, contributions and historical influence of the
empires and kingdoms of sub-Sahara Africa.
7.06 Evaluate how different points of view, self-interest, and global distribution of natural resources play a
role in conflict over territory.
7.07 Demonstrate an understanding of concepts such as role, status, and social class in describing the
interactions of individuals and social groups.

Unit Big Ideas/Enduring Understandings

   Geography played an important role in the development of societies in West Africa.
   Trade was the foundation of political power in the Kingdom of Ghana.
   The spread of Islam influenced West African culture.
   The cultural legacy of West Africa’s oral traditions, music, and visual arts continue to influence our
     world today.

Unit Essential Question(s)

   What role does geography play in the development of societies?
   How does economic power support political institutions?
   How do cultures change to accommodate different ideas and beliefs?
   How do cultures transmit their ideas and values?

Unit Academic Vocabulary

(The italicized words appear on tests) Tribute, oral tradition, Mali, Songhai, Ghana, Timbuktu, Sahara
desert, the Sahel, hereditary, genealogy, Niger River, Songhai, Islam, caravan, barter.
Unit Pre-assessment
The following type of document * can first be used for pre-assessment and self-assessment purposes and
then, after instruction, for formative and self-assessment purposes, and then to guide review.

Create a document for students to “show what you already know about______”
Cut and paste the big ideas or essential questions of the unit onto a blank document, adding heading,
numbers, and space for writing or creating graphic organizers.
Cut and paste any vocabulary terms that might be useful in responding to the prompts.

Collect the papers for pre-assessment purposes, but return them after each question is answered through
your lesson instruction and ask students to respond again, change their original answers, or add more
information to their answers.

Use chart paper to collect student responses and build common knowledge before the lesson and after
the lesson, adding important information that students may have missed.
Students should know that all of this information is testable on the unit assessment. They can use these
questions/answers to quiz each other orally in preparation.

* See the completed document created for this unit

Supplemental Resources:
Nystrom Desk Atlas and Teacher Binder (shared building resource)
7 Grade History Alive and Desk Atlas Correlation Document

Discovery Streaming: While there don’t seem to be any useful DVDs in the Multimedia Library on this
topic, there are a few useful video segments that you can stream or download and save to your computer
or to a thumb drive to save for future use. Enter Empires of Early Africa. Two clips are described below.
Under Kingdoms of West Africa there is a trade map.

Empires of Early Africa: Sub-Saharan Survey (05:06)
Explore the history of the West African empires Ghana and Mali, learning about how they built their
wealth, their culture, their religious practices as well as how they were eventually defeated.

Empires of Early Africa: Islam Comes to Timbuktu (04:15)
This clip traces the history of the rise of Timbuktu as a place of scholarly learning. One of Mali's most
powerful leaders, Mansa Moussa, is also introduced, and his role in spreading Muslim culture and Islamic
religion is discussed.

There are also many clips that can be used to connect to West African culture in the present.

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Grades 6-8 SS Related Fiction with Reading Levels from MultCoLib

Differentiation Support

Grade 7 Social Studies Enrichment Resources Unit Three

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